Just as it is with swimming, technique is vitally important in running. It only takes an understanding of the little things you’re doing that slow you down and how to correct them, to make a breakthrough.
Practice makes perfect right? Well, wrong, actually. Practice bad habits, and they will become ingrained. Only perfect practice makes perfect.
Running is not just about your legs, doing it well involves your whole body for relaxation, timing and power. What you are doing with your head, shoulders, arms and hands makes a huge difference.
Running correctly is not so much about looking good as feeling good, although it’s hard to run correctly without looking pretty good too.
Reasons to Run Correctly:
- Less likely to get injured.
- Less injuries means more consistent training.
- More consistent training may be the single most important factor to making progress.
- Good form will allow you to go faster or keep up the same speed for longer.
- Efficiency is critical to long distant running.
Before we break down the different parts of your body and what they should be doing let’s think of it as a whole I call it T.R.B!
Running tall gives you room to breathe, your chest has more room to expand unlike if you are hunched over with your chest collapsed. Running tall might also give you longer strides. Other things being in line longer strides means you will get to the finish line quicker
Staying relaxed saves energy, Each of us only has so much fuel to burn, relax and you won’t waste it tense parts of your body that should be relaxed, tense up and it’s almost like your fighting yourself, like trying to ride a bike with your breaks on.
Running with balance is vital to be the most effective runner you can be. You don’t want to move from side to side and waste energy righting yourself every stride you take. Every bit of energy should be focused on propelling yourself forward.
The Individual Parts of Your Body
Now here are the key things you need to remember as you run, looking at the individual parts of your body.
- You should feel like you’re falling forward and your only bringing your legs through quickly enough that you stop yourself from falling.
- Your head should be still and looking straight ahead, eyes looking ahead and slightly down about 10-15 feet, this will help you keep your centre of gravity forward and help you keep the rapid rolling cadence that will help you run at your fastest and most efficient. Keeping your head in this position also keeps your airways open making it easier to breath.
- Your arms should have the feeling of pulling back, one at a time and not by any exaggerated arm movements but instead using your shoulders to move your arms forwards and backwards and not across your body keep your elbows at 90 degrees. Your shoulders at all times should be loose and relaxed. Your arm movement is directly linked to your cadence, faster arms means faster feet so your arms are your accelerator pedal. Here timing is everything you want your arms to move fast enough to keep a high cadence but not fast enough to overtake your stride.
- You should reach forward with your knees bent and your heels should come through fairly high, so your legs move almost like those of a cyclist. If you are reaching forward with your heel each foot fall creates a breaking effect slowing you down, wasting energy and increasing your risk of injury.
- Finally your feet should land quietly, move quickly and lightly. Your feet should work exactly like your running on the spot, try running on the spot and landing on your heels it’s very difficult! The best indicator if your running correctly is the sound your feet make, if the slap or bang the ground then you are stubbing your feet as you land and your putting on the breaks.